The group, established by NGOs including Greenpeace, WWF, and palm oil producers, has published a set of indicators that allow independent verification that palm producers are meeting the strict guidelines set out by POIG charter - which builds on the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil’s (RSPO) certification standard with additional requirements that ensure all palm oil operations are free from deforestation, the destruction of peatlands, and human and labour rights abuses.
“The Palm Oil Innovation Group has taken a major step towards ensuring the availability of responsible palm oil from independently verified growers," said the group in a joint statement. "With the detailed indicators agreed and released, palm oil producer members will now be able to confirm compliance with the stringent requirement of the POIG Charter and provide palm oil that is proven not to cause forest destruction, social conflict or aggravate climate change."
The group added that the new benchmark standard is good news for the growing list of palm oil consumer companies - including Nestlé, Ferrero, Unilever, L’Oreal, Safeway, DelHaize, Proctor & Gamble, General Mills, Kellogg and Mars - which have made 'No Deforestation' commitments and are demanding responsibly produced palm oil.
“All that is needed now is for other stakeholders to actively support innovation and improvements in the palm oil sector and demonstrate that business as usual is no longer tenable," said the WWF and Greenpeace backed group.
The first trial of the POIG indicators will be undertaken alongside its annual RSPO audit by Colombian palm oil producer DAABON in late May.
POIG palm oil producer members Agropalma and New Britain Palm Oil have plans to seek independent verification that their operations are in compliance with the requirements and indicators outlined in the Charter by the end of 2014, the group added.